Skinning Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces
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Skinning Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces

This code implements the subdivision surface portion of our SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 paper Skinning Cubic Bézier Splines and Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces by Songrun Liu, Alec Jacobson, and Yotam Gingold. The implementation consists of a library and a GUI for posing subdivision surfaces with skeletons.


This code depends on:

  • OpenSubDiv 2.x
  • libigl
    • included sub-dependencies:
      • AntTweakBar
      • embree
      • tetgen
      • yimg
      • tetgen
    • not included sub-dependencies:
      • CGAL (e.g. brew install cgal)
    • MOSEK (optional)
  • eigen (e.g. brew install eigen)

Academics can install MOSEK for free, but this is optional. The CMakeFiles define the flag -DIGL_NO_MOSEK to disable Mosek support when building this project.

Download and compile the OpenSubdiv 2.x dependency

git clone
    cd OpenSubdiv
    git reset --hard 25cee425f32758a7e0e8812da628007a8eeecce6
    mkdir build
    cd build
    cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..

To compile using gcc on Mac OS X, consider replacing the last two commands with:

make osd_static_cpu

If you installed opensubdiv somewhere other than this directory, then create a symbolic link to it. For example,

ln -s ~/Documents/OpenSubdiv OpenSubdiv

Download libigl and compile the third-party dependencies

git clone
( cd libigl/external/AntTweakBar/src && make )
( cd libigl/external/embree && mkdir build && cd build && cmake .. && make )
( cd libigl/external/tetgen && make )
( cd libigl/external/yimg && make )

Compile this project (libsubdivision_skinning and subdivgui)

mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..
cd ..

Using the library

The library is compiled into


The library interface is exposed through a simple pure-C interface. The header file describing the functions is in


A simple usage example can be found in


Running the included GUI

Prepare a coarse subdivision surface cage as a .obj file cage.obj and a skeleton using the .tgf file format of libigl skeleton.tgf. You could use the libigl/examples/skeleton-builder/ example to build your skeleton with a GUI.

Run this program for the first time to compute bounded biharmonic weights:

./build/subdivgui/subdivgui cage.obj skeleton.tgf [computation_level evaluation_level [weights.dmat]]

The computation and evaluation level parameters specify the (integer) level of subdivision to use when computing skinning weights and when evaluating the energy described in the paper. Skinning weight computation can be lengthy, so computation level is allowed to be a smaller number than evaluation level. The defaults are 1 and 3, respectively. For very coarse subdivision control meshes, 2 and 4 are more sensible.

You can run the included torus example:

./build/subdivgui/subdivgui subdivgui/torus{.obj,.tgf} 2 4 subdivgui/torus-weights.dmat

This will attempt to clean the model by meshing self-intersections, and filling holes. Then it will compute a tetrahedral mesh of the surface's solid volume. Finally it will compute bounded biharmonic weights for each skeleton bone. When finished the weights will be saved to the provided path weights.dmat in the .dmat file format of libigl.

The GUI will now start and you may follow the standard output instructions to interact and change visualization settings.

Subsequent runs of

./build/subdivgui/subdivgui cage.obj skeleton.tgf computation_level evaluation_level weights.dmat

will load weights from weights.dmat rather than recompute them. (Computation and evaluation level must be the same between runs.)